Prime Aquaculture FZE, a subsidiary of Emirates National Aquaculture LLC, recently signed an MoU with Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) to build the region’s first shrimp RAS farm. The innovative marine shrimp farm, expected to be completed by Q1 2023, will aid in the cultivation of marine shrimp and significantly increase output in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet the increasing demand.
The MoU was signed by Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO and Managing Director, DP World UAE & Jafza, and Imtiyaz Abdul Razak Kalsekar, Managing Director of Prime Aquaculture FZE.
They informed that the facility will include a shrimp farm, hatchery, and primary and secondary processing units. While driving sustainable food production in the UAE, the farm is also poised to meet the objectives of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051, enabling sustainable food production by using modern technologies and solutions.
The UAE relies heavily on imports to cater to local shrimp demands, with more than 51,000 MT of shrimps being imported per year. The total local consumption of shrimp ranges between 38,000 and 40,000 MT, with precovid imports going up to 51,108 MT, and export and re-exports reaching up to 12,204 MT.
Latest technology in the shrimp farming
Prime Aquaculture will incorporate the latest technology in the shrimp farm to ensure that the highest quality of shrimps is produced. With the help of its Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology with a discharge of five to seven percent, the farm will produce over 1,000 MT of shrimps per year, which is three times more than the current shrimp production in the UAE.
“The UAE’s food trade exceeds AED 100 billion annually, and food and beverage investments in the nation stand at a total of AED 62 billion,” said Bin Damithan.
“This is proof that the F&B sector is one of the most lucrative industries driving the UAE’s economy. One key driver of this vital industry’s growth is its aquaculture sector. We believe that strategic partnerships and technological investments in this sector are critical to enhance production efficiency and ensure its security over the longer term,” he added.
Taking these factors into consideration, the CEO and Managing Director, DP World UAE & Jafza assured that through the partnership with Prime Aquaculture FZE, “we look forward to boosting shrimp production and ensuring quality produce with advanced technologies such as RAS. The shrimp farms will maintain high-intensity culture systems ensuring absolute biosecurity.”
It’s important to remember that RAS is in the present the most sustainable technology available today for the process of shrimp farming, as it not only recirculates water but also maintains control over all of the water’s physiochemical qualities. The present shrimp farming method, also known as a semi-intensive culture system, is an open pond system that requires a lot of space.
Imports covers 70% of the UAE consumes
On his part, Razak Kalsekar explained that the UAE consumes about 220,000 tonnes of seafood annually, with imports covering 70% of this figure. “One of the key pillars for the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy is to achieve self-sufficiency,” he said.
“During the pandemic, when travel restrictions were imposed, the importance of local production was highlighted. We, at the Emirates National Aquaculture, plan to enhance the UAE’s food security by doubling the current aquaculture production over the next three years,” Razak Kalsekar explained.
Emirates National Aquaculture along with Prime Aquaculture FZE will add 3,400 MT/year to UAE’s aquaculture production, which stood at approximately 3,200 MT/year in 2021. “Establishing our shrimp farm in Jafza is a massive step towards achieving this objective,” he concluded.